What's happened to me?! I'm the consummate fantasy nerd, reading this, of all things!
To be fair, though, this has some fantasy elements to it...
The year is 1945. Claire
Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with
her husband on a second honeymoon--when she walks through a standing
stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles.
Suddenly she is a Sassenach--an "outlander"--in a Scotland torn by war
and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.
back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into
intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life...and shatter her
heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior,
and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two
vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
MY RATING: 4 STARS
So I finally broke down and decided to read Outlander, then I finally got lucky enough to spot it on a shelf at Goodwill. Then I enjoyed it enough to read it twice in a row.
me start with what turned me off, as that's a shorter list. Time travel
stories aren't really my thing (unless there happens to be a
Time-Turner involved), and it seems Diana Gabaldon has an even more
chaotic approach than usual in her rationalization of the whens and the
whys and the what-times. The detail I'm picking on is that, Claire's
marriage to Jamie is valid because her marriage to Frank is technically
still two hundred years into the future, but if all time runs
side-by-side (and I'm assuming that's what she's getting at, what with
Claire going on about how she's been gone from 1945 for such and such
amount of time) then that means she's still married to Frank and her
marriage to Jamie isn't legal after all...maybe the Doctor can figure
this one out for me, because I'm confused.
hundred pages? I'm torn here, because my instincts as a writer say that
this thing could have been heaps and bunches shorter by cutting out
anything and everything that did nothing to further the plot. But then, I
get all mixed up because this doesn't really have a plot, per se. And
on top of it all, my sensibilities as a reader wouldn't hear of cutting
anything out, because I liked it all. I spent half the book in titters
at all the humor, the last quarter in near-tears because of the turn of
events, and all the rest of it racing as fast as I could onto the next
page because I was dying to know what was coming.
Claire had her
moments of being just that irritating, but what can I say? She dropped
the F-bomb in front of a total stranger within the first few pages and
later cussed a man out for daring to get himself injured on her watch.
She was bound to win me over eventually. She's kind of like one of those
people you're not really sure why you're friends with, but you can't
imagine not being friends with them anyway.
there's James Fraser...dear God and Jesus at Olive Garden, I've become
one of those females that swooned after him the instant he arrived on
the scene. It's easy to consider him the stereotypical romantic hero,
but he really isn't. Which gives me cause for relief, to be honest, or
I'd lose all my self-respect entirely. He's mainly responsible for all
the aforementioned humor, and most of it is my favorite kind of bawdy,
raunchy humor, God bless him. And that sentiment goes double for his
genuine love and affection for Claire, and just for being so bloody
amazing. The best part? He's flawed! He's realistic! He's the perfect
guy, and he's not even perfect!
Someone stop me, I'm going in circles...
sex, once it started happening, felt like it hardly stopped happening.
But Ms. Gabaldon handled it in a way that it wasn't just Jamie and
Claire doing it for the sake of it, but achieved some kind of growth
through it. It felt like they were actually coming closer together,
emotionally and spiritually as well as physically, so points for that.
And for keeping the dialogue interesting! It was never even too explicit
for all that they were constantly hopping into bed or hiding in a
convenient stand of trees or haystack, and that spells accomplishment to
me! I do, however, have to ask if the whole episode with Jonathan
Randall at Wentworth prison is really necessary...it felt like one of
those things that didn't really do much for the plot and it was almost
overdone, but I'll live with it. It gives Randall complexity as a
villain, which is always a good thing.
Speaking of Randall, that
didn't quite impress me, either, making him a counterpart of Frank. I
get it, it adds to the emotional train wreck for Claire to be confronted
with her beloved husband's doppelganger only for him to turn out a
sadist, but...it was too easy! What better way to make her turn to Jamie
than to make Frank somehow seem less appealing by extension?
And did I happen to mention that Jamie is so awesome? I did? OK then, moving on...
can see the haters' point about where this book is lacking, but I can
also pose an argument in defense of it. So I guess that means I'm a fan,
then, doesn't it? I couldn't help myself! It was exactly the kind of
escape I love in a book, no matter what the genre! For crying out loud, I
read it again right after I finished it the first time, and that's
explanation enough in itself!
Your humble book nerd,